I guess by some people’s standards I have a large family. Three sisters, two brothers – some with different moms, but all the same dad. Four of us have our own children, three have spouses, and all have dogs. Throw in a few miscellaneous relatives that typically show up for holiday gatherings (occasionally including my mom, long divorced from my dad) and we end up with quite a crew.
We all anticipate different parts of the gathering, but aside from seeing siblings and those relatives coming in from out of town, one of my most looked forward to parts of the holidays is baking dessert with my daughter. Spending the day in the kitchen with her is incomparable; we talk, laugh, strategize and sometimes even sing – anything Taylor Swift being our favorite baking accompaniment.
This year, we decided to go simple yet elegant, and adapt a recipe from one of our favorites, Ina Garten. Her apple tart just seemed like the perfect complement to a heavy dinner: sweet apples, flaky crust, and a tang of apricot jam make this simple dessert one you’ll want to try for any holiday gathering. So grab your favorite baking partner, crank up the tunes, and have some fun!
For the pastry:
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, diced
1/2 c. ice water
For the apples:
4-5 Granny Smith apples
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 stick cold butter, diced
1/2 c. apricot jam
2 T. water
To make the pastry, put flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas.
With motor running, pour ice water down feed tube and pulse just until dough sticks together-not too long or the pastry will be tough.
Knead into a ball on a floured board.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough approximately 10×14 inches. Trim the edges-it’s a rustic tart, so no need to be perfect. Refrigerate the dough while preparing the apples.
To make the apples, peel and cut them in half through the stem. Be sure to remove stem and any leftover peel.
Use a melon baller to scoop the core – it leaves the apples in a pretty shape.
Slice apples crosswise in about 1/4 inch slices. Try to be uniform.
Lay apple slices diagonally down the center of the pastry first, then fill in the sides until it is covered.
Sprinkle with combination of sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter.
Bake about 45 minutes until pastry is browned, and edges of apples start to brown. Rotate after 20 minutes. Watch carefully – if it starts to drip in the oven, place another sheet below to catch the mess.
When baked, heat the apricot jam with water and spread completely over the top.
Loosen tart so it doesn’t stick. When cool, slice in squares. Can be served warm or at room temperature.